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Practical & Frugal Tips on Dressing Modestly

on August 13, 2012 by Jami Balmet 20 comments

I am passionate about Biblical Modesty and want to follow what the Lord commands us to in regards to modesty. And any talk of modesty quickly turns to clothing.

Thankfully, with the internet, we now have many great options of buying modest clothing online even if we can’t find clothing in our local stores. I shared a list of my favorite modest clothing companies. But this can get expensive!

We were married while we were still working our way through college, and since graduating we have been trying to save for a house and now we are saving for our twin boys on the way. I don’t have a very big clothing budget but still love to get some new (to me) cute and modest clothing! And I do it on a dime!

Stock up on the Basics

The key to my modest dressing success is layering, layering, layering. Once, in Ross, my sister’s and I found some camisoles that were long enough and high enough without falling down throughout the day. BUT this is the only time we have been able to find camis in store that are high enough and don’t fall down throughout the day.

So this is the one area I spend a little bit of money. I buy my cami’s online. Apricot Apparel is my favorite cami store!

Their cami’s are $12.95 a piece. I bought a white, black, and brown one first and then later went and bought a pink and red one. But I find that my white, black, and brown work so well under every outfit!

Here I’m wearing my brown cami at the fair with my hubby!

Ultimately, these cami’s allow me to wear shirts I would never dream of otherwise! I can shop clearance racks and normal clothing stores and not worry about them being too low cut. A cami under any shirt can work wonders!

I would normally never be able to wear this shirt!

I wear one of these cami’s almost every day. But another one of my favorite’s is Mod Bod’s perfect tank. This tank is very tight (and I only recommend wearing it as a layering tool) and works so well under shirts and dresses. Again this opens up a whole new world of clothing that I normally couldn’t wear!

What you can’t see is that half of the back of this shirt is see through like the shoulder straps. But with the Mod Bod tank, it has become one of my favorite summer shirts!

The Mod Bod tanks are normally $17.95 a piece (and always watch for sales) but every season they do road shows in Costco and they sell two tanks together for almost half the price!

I have a brown, black, white and pink tanks. Their layering shirts are also awesome and I plan to buy a few next time they are at our Costco again. Check this list to find out when they will be at a Costco near you!

Shop, Shop, Shop!

I know this sounds counter productive to trying to dress modestly for cheap but it’s what lets me find all the good deals!

Every time I pop into Target for something, I head straight past their regular clothing and make a beeline for their clearance racks. I quickly browse through  and then move on. Sometimes I don’t find a thing and sometimes I find the perfect shirt or dress for pennies compared to what it originally cost!

But it takes diligence and is harder than just walking into a store and buying some clothing. My favorite stores are Target, Kohl’s, Ross, and Walmart (their clothing has actually gotten a lot better!)

Please note: I am 17 weeks pregnant with twins in the following pictures so excuse me if things are a bit tight 😉

This cute top was only $3.95 at target on clearance and it has become one of my favorite! And my skirt is from goodwill for $4.99. Outfit Total: $8.94!

This is one of my favorite summer dresses that my sister found on clearance at Walmart! Outfit total: $6!

Shop Thrift Stores

I know to some of you, this grosses you out! But please don’t let it. Goodwill and other thrift stores near you can be an excellent source of clothing! I don’t know about you, but I find that most of the “modern cool” clothing is just NOT my taste lately. Thrift stores offer some great alternatives for cheap!

I found this super cute top at a thrift store for only $2.50! Layering it with my Apricot Apparel cami makes it the perfect summer shirt!
This cute dress was an adorable Goodwill find! Outfit Total: $7.99!
I hear people often say that the thrift stores near them don’t have any good clothing (and maybe they don’t). But I would encourage you to keep trying! Sometimes I can go to three different thrift stores in a day and not find a single thing.

Sometimes, Goodwill seems to be picked over and sometimes I don’t have enough money to spend on all the great things I find! Just keep looking! Next time you are near Goodwill stop in and spend 20 minutes browsing the dresses and tops really quickly.

Get familiar with the days that they bring in new inventory. And find what days they offer deals. Every item at Goodwill is marked with a colored tag. Each week one of those colors is half off! If you are tight on money just stop in and browse that color each week.

Do you have any tricks or favorite shopping places to find cheap and modest clothing? Please share!

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  1. Yep–these are pretty much all the ideas and tricks I use! I really love your layering cami’s, although that isn’t quite in our budget right now! I’ve found that Walmart often has cheap tanks and camis (and sometimes some really long ones!) that work well for layering. I also love Old Navy’s tank tops–often on sale for a really good deal.

    The green print dress from Walmart looks like the exact same style as one that I have, except mine is pink. I got that one second-hand and it’s missing the tags, so I don’t know what store it originally came from, but it has the same crossover bodice with the “puckered” (I don’t know what else you’d call it) part below it. 🙂 I love that dress…so comfy, and so nice and modest!

    You are lovely, my dear. 🙂 I’m excited to see what modest styles you come up with when your baby tummy is bigger! 😀

    • Tank tops are always great and usually easier to find than high cami’s! I’ll have to try out Old Navy’s tanks. Haha that is so funny! We are twins 🙂 It is such a comfy dress!

      Thanks Jaimie! Stretchy workout pants have been my best friend right now!! 😉 Lol

  2. Nice post! I’m loving that last Goodwill dress too! I have found the women’s section in Kohl’s to be a good resource lately too. We have gotten a few $10 coupons in the mail and with that combined with the clearance rack, you can get a pretty good deal there. I love those ModBod tanks – bookmarking that page.

  3. I like the idea of being modest with hem and necklines to a degree, especially when I am seeing patients, in professional or family settings. However, i think you can go overboard and actually do yourself a great disservice with your goal of dressing modestly. I think there is a thin line between modest and frumpy and I’m not sure you quite know how to walk it.
    I think wearing a high camisole under a tank top looks bulky, extraneous, and very very obviously meant to hide not flatter a woman’s body. A woman’s beauty, grace, manners and style are big gunsin her arsenal of feminine wiles, I don’t think we should be so quick to hamper them with poor dressing style in the name of modesty.

    If you are really into being modest and want to be hip that’s not hard at all even on a dime…just have to be creative. Think Audrey Hepburn, think Jackie O, think classic beauty…

    Just my two cents…

    • Hi Amanda,

      Maybe there is a fine line between being modest and frumpy, but in an effort to honor God then it is better to be a little frumpy then to not be honoring to God in our clothing choices. The goal of my life is not to look fashionable, but rather to Glorify God. If you think I look frumpy, then I’m sorry.

      I do like wearing cute clothes and wearing a camisole under my clothing isn’t bulky or distracting. It’s a great way to wear modern fashions without showing cleavage and too much skin.

      Thank you for your comment but it sounds like our goals in how we dress are very different. And I don’t think that I dress frumpy, and neither does my husband so we are very happy with my clothing choices 🙂

    • Amanda, I’m with Jami on this one. I’d rather be modest and look a little “frumpy” than be immodest. I check my outfits with my husband to make sure I am walking that fine line between modest and frumpy! He likes how I look and so do I. It’s not my goal–nor do I think it’s Jami’s–to necessarily be “hip,” but to glorify God with our bodies and the clothes on them.

      I don’t think women do themselves a “disservice” by dressing “too” modestly. If our goal is to get attention because of what we wear, then it would be a disservice. But to me it’s a disservice to my husband and myself if I’m drawing attention to myself because of my clothes.

  4. I would like to suggest consignment shops. Most that I have been in don’t like to hold onto items for longer than 60days and will drastically drop prices after that point. I have gotten dozens of tops and bottoms for $2!

  5. This will sound strange but instead of a CAMI I wear a tank top turned around backwards. All you have to do is find ones without tags or cut them out. It works great with almost everything and is very high and doesn’t gap.